Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It’s a Learning Curve

It is a learning curve! This lifestyle is definitely a learning situation. We seem to learn something new all the time and sometimes learning is tough business. I was reading Judy’s blog (  ) and she was asking questions concerning her Splendide washer/dryer. I have a Splendide washer/dryer and had one in the last two motorhomes we’ve owned. Did I know how to use it?? Really use it? Nope, not a clue. Not until Judy wrote about it in her blog and all these wonderful seasoned full-time ladies gave their ideas and expertise on the subject. Thanks Margie! I read that information and went back to my washer/dryer and put a few of those suggestions to practice and I have been much happier with the results. Thanks ladies.

Today we went to turn on the TV and guess what?? You probably did….we have NO TV and those little numbers on the screen that tell you how much reception you are getting from the satellite said 0. Now just a few hours earlier we had TV…great TV….great reception. We turned it off and went to town and when we got home we were at 0. There had been no storm, no wind, and no rain. We have 0. What takes you from 98 to 0 in less than 3 hours? We may never really know (well certainly not in the dark) but Mike went outside and moved our dish a little and now we are at 95. We have TV…well sort of. We have some channels but not all of the channels we are suppose to have. Sheeesh! It appears some of the lower numbers have not returned. Now we have to call customer service. Have you ever called customer service?? That is soooo much fun. It takes about 15 minutes to actually “talk” to somebody. When you actually get to talk to somebody you might have moments when you wish you weren’t. Long story short, the lower channels are returning slowly one by one. The good news….Mike found the satellite in the dark and we have NEVER found the satellite even in the light of day. Now there is learning!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my laptop being sent back to the HP hospital for repairs. DSC03434 When it was returned and even before we left Staples the techs realized that it had not been repaired so back it goes to the HP hospital. I did get to say “hi” to it and bond for a few moments and then they sent it back. Fast forward a couple of weeks and now our laptop has been returned to us once again and guess what? It is shutting down again and doing all the crazy things it was doing before it was sent for repairs. Mike called Staples this morning and reported the latest symptoms and the manager said he would call them (whoever “them” is) and get back with us. Well, this afternoon he called and told us they were going to replace it. I am a BIG believer in those warranties on electronics. So we will be able to invest the amount we paid for the current laptop on a new one. I think I will go with Toshiba this time….what do you think? I’m learning!

On the lighter side, this morning, as Mike and I were eating our breakfast and discussing the wonderful quiet in the campground we had a visitor to the motorhome. DSC_3130 DSC_3131   DSC_3132 Yes, this sweet little Tufted Titmouse landed on the windshield wiper and just starred in the motorhome. DSC_3133 He was so cute. He eventually hopped over to the mirrors and sat there for the longest time looking in the motorhome. What he probably was doing was seeing his reflection off the glass. Who is that good looking bird??? What a charmer!!

It has been a great beginning to a busy week. The campground is pretty empty and so peaceful. I know that this won’t last because in a few days this country will be celebrating the 4th of July!! The campground has a few activities and events scheduled for the enjoyment of the campers. Should be fun. Will it be crazy around here??? You bet…I’m learning!!

Have a great week and never stop learning!! Thanks for stopping by…. we really appreciate all of our wonderful friends that follow our journey in full-timing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Storm of a Weekend

Well I must confess this has been one of those weekends where I was soooo glad to see the giant Hoover come to the campground and vacuum the folks out. First, the office told us this would be a slow weekend with few campers. Not so…our section has been full. There have been a few sites down by the lake vacant…go figure that one. It isn’t the numbers so much as the make up of people. This has been a group that just kinda looks at you and their face says…”who me???” I’m not sure why we think there should be rules in a campground….do you? Just to add a little interest to things Friday evening around 5:15 the power went out. We were having lots of very loud thunder with wicked sky to ground lightning with just a small amount of wind. It was about that time we heard the loudest boom and knew something was hit. Apparently several trees were struck including one up on the mountain which took down a power line. We also had a tree hit in one of our group areas near the lake.  DSC_3100 DSC_3106

The lightning split this  tree right down the middle and shot pieces of the wood for up to 120 feet. DSC_3101 You can see in one of the pics where the wood was burned by the lightning. DSC_3112

Luckily we were not without power for very long since it was indeed a pretty hot day. After the storm went through the area, it actually cooled things off a bit. With less humidity it is at least bearable.

Mike had to make several “quiet” time laps through the campground after 10:00. This is a part of the job we don’t particularly like. It is not our nature to be patrol officers. Tonight we had several campsites that were being a little too loud. They were playing a game and having a good time and I honestly don’t think folks realize how their voices travel throughout the campground. When Mike reminded them of the hours for quiet time they settled down. We did have one mom that wanted to give her 3 year old a bath in the sink in the laundry room. He was NOT happy and screaming his head off. Sheeesh!

Saturday the folks that run the Trading Post sponsored a kids “fun” morning at 10:00. They had some crafts and the big red fire truck showed up once again to help make it rain. Like we needed some help after Friday evening!! The kids enjoyed themselves as well as the parents. It was a nice morning! We also had a family of 5 come in to tent camp that had never been camping before. It was such a joy to watch them ride their bikes, roast marshmallows and just enjoy being together as a family. The dad said they all had a great time and he was such a gracious guest as well as very complimentary.

The afternoon saw many folks making their way to the Liberty Bell pool. This is a natural spring fed pool that was built for FDR. The bottom of the pool is made of natural smooth rock. Quite unique and something many folks come to enjoy. Saturday was a good day for swimming to cool off.

It is now very quiet and peaceful in the campground. We have about 9 campers left in our area. DSC03424  DSC03422 It managed to cool off and again the humidity is fairly low so we are outside on the patio enjoying the evening. Mike has decided to build a fire just so we can enjoy the wonderful campfire smell and the snap crackle pop of a fire. DSC03427 I know we MUST be crazy! But it is nice and we aren’t sitting real close. What can I say….we love camping.

We hope you had a great weekend and did whatever makes you smile! Thanks so much for dropping by to visit our blog and read a little about our adventures as campground host. : )

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Afternoon at the Beach

Yesterday Gerri & I decided to go to the beach at Callaway Gardens and enjoy the mid-afternoon. DSC_3024 When I worked at Callaway Gardens, I was the Recreational Food & Beverage Director and this was one of my five pieces of business to oversee. …what a sad thing (LOL). They have a putt-putt golf course, paddle boats, of course, the beach for swimming, and during the summer, students from Florida State University come up and put on the Flying High Circus. They do shows everyday but two during the week. This is their 52nd year of doing this. They are under a giant tent and the show goes on rain or shine. We haven’t gone yet this year, but we will be going in the near future; probably during the mid week since we want to stay near the campground on the weekends. We will take a lot of pics when we go and share them with you.   DSC_3033 DSC_3037 DSC_3036

The lake is surrounded by white sand to create a beautiful beach. The water is also spring fed so it is good clear water which makes for a great place to swim and enjoy the summer. At the beach, Callaway has a Pavilion for shade and a concession stand for beach type foods and munchies. DSC03395 DSC03392 There is shuffleboard, a water slide and so many other type activities for the kids. Sometimes it is just nice to walk around the beach and just enjoy being outside.

Yesterday afternoon at the campground, lots of campers started coming in and Gerri & I stared to think it was Friday. There was a lot of movement during the early part of the night, but all things calmed down as it got later. It was a calm quiet night. As one person said it is not always the number of campers as much as it is the type of campers you have.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Confessions…. and More Work

It was another busy weekend! We were only about 70% full but this crowd was a little busier. We had several children that were skateboarding down the road on Friday evening when rigs were pulling into the campground. Needless to say we weren’t on their popular list when we asked them to stop. In fact, it is a rule in the campground…NO SKATEBOARDS! It just isn’t safe!

We sold lots of ice but very little firewood. We still had a few sites that had campfires. I think it is adorable, no matter what the temperature, kids want a campfire. You just can’t camp without a fire. The poor parents were sitting there with fans blowing at them in order to endure the heat. It is so nice to see families together enjoying the outdoors!

We are busy this week getting all the sites in good condition for the BIG Fourth of July weekend. There aren’t a lot of things to do but we want to make sure all the sites look good. Mike still wants to try to finish one section of shrubs down by the lake. Yesterday, as he was pulling some limbs out, he was nailed three times by a mean yellow jacket. I joked on facebook saying…it wasn’t the Georgia Tech type either. It seems the nasty little creature flew up the pant leg of his jeans….need I say more????

The weather stays hot with high humidity but we work mostly in the mornings and evenings to avoid the heat of the day. I guess we have lived in the south so long it isn’t something we can’t deal with. I suppose you just consider it part of your life…kinda like the folks up north deal with the snow. You might not like it but you just get used to it and go on. Our motorhome stays nice and cool with the temperature where we like it…about 70 degrees. I know many are suffering, so hopefully this heat wave will pass soon and things can get a little cooler or at least less humid. With all that said…we might just need to experience summer in a cooler climate next year to just see what it’s like. 

I have a confession…yep a confession  DSC_3067  DSC_3074 DSC_3075 DSC_3078 . Several of our readers made a nice comment about our hummingbird pictures that we posted saying we were “good.” Well, I must confess it isn’t really that hard. We have a hummingbird feeder attached to the outside window of our living area in the motorhome.DSC_3073 Mike’s recliner sits directly across from the window. He sits there with his camera and zoom lens ready and when the little fellows come to dine he just starts snapping shots. The hummers have really gotten used to coming to the window and when they fly up they don’t get spooked as easily. We really enjoy these tiny little birds so much.DSC_3072 Yesterday, we went into town and purchased another feeder that we are putting on the dinette window. We can feed more hummers and they will be a little more separated from each other. Thanks for the nice compliments but it really isn’t skill just creative thinking.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great week. Stay cool!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

They Came Back

At first we thought they had abandoned the home they worked so hard to build. We watched one afternoon while three little Wrens worked tirelessly to build a nest in my new hanging basket. We watched all three bring twigs, pine straw and dried leaves to this special place one would be calling home. They were fun to watch. The next day we took a look and could see that they had accomplished a lot but were not through.

We didn’t think much about it but several days later we noticed that there wasn’t as much movement in the area of the hanging basket. We got a little curious so we went over to take a look and there was a perfectly formed nest. It was round in shape and went way back into the basket bottom. We looked but did not see any occupant. Mike got the flashlight and we looked again and still didn’t see the little Wren.

We became a little discouraged because we were looking forward to seeing a family emerge from our Wren apartment. It seemed like they had, for whatever reason, abandoned their handy work. That was until yesterday when we suddenly saw a little movement in the plant and then noticed a small Wren fly to the tree nearby. Once again Mike took the flashlight and took a look inside the nest and this time looking back at him was a small little Wren. DSC_3043 DSC_3050 The Wren has returned and one day soon we will get to see the babies emerge and join the other birds in this beautiful park. We will need to keep the camera handy.

We also have finally attracted hummingbirds to our window feeder.DSC_3065DSC_3067 DSC_2826 At first there was only one and now we have several dive bombing the feeder. Today we went into town to the local Ace Hardware and purchased another window hummingbird feeder to put in the dinette window. Now we have room for more.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your time with us. We appreciate all of you that are following our adventures in this wonderful lifestyle. Life is good!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It’s Raining….. NOT

What is the very best thing to do on a hot Saturday morning in a campground?? I hope you said “get wet and cool off” because that is exactly what the kids in our campground got to do this morning.

About 10:00 this morning we saw a big red fire truck pull into the campground and park at the Trading Post.  The Pine Mountain Fire Department is a volunteer fire department and one of the long time firemen is Wayne Holloway, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pine Mountain. He drove the truck this morning and went around announcing to the families that he was going to make it rain at 11:30.….. at least 1,000 gallons worth.

The kids quickly got into their swimsuits or just wore whatever they wanted and made their way to the Trading Post. At precisely 11:30 the rain began. Wayne and another volunteer fireman started the giant spray and the kids ran and danced around in the water.DSC_3054 DSC_3056 They had a great time and the more they squealed with delight the more other kids started to arrive.

It doesn’t take long for 1,000 gallons of water to be emptied. I am sure they could have played in the water for hours but all good things run out….and the water ran out. Wayne did have free water guns for all the kids so they left with their own equipment for water   fun. DSC_3058 Thank goodness it wasn’t water balloons. Only another camp host could understand that one.

It was a good thing the Pine Mountain Volunteer Fire Department decided to make it rain because that is ALL the rain we got today. It was a good day…lots of sunshine and many, many happy families.

We hope your weekend was a happy one also

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Few Questions Answered

I want to start with addressing a few questions we have had regarding workamping. Randy ( asked us if we had any not so good experiences at a workamping position. First, we aren’t coming from a multitude of experiences but we are happy to answer “no.” As with everything there are positives and negatives. The wildlife refuges have greater funding so we found ourselves with more to work with. Being told “if you all need anything just let us know” was a huge clue. We were given a Dodge Dakota to use and it was not a base truck…..fully loaded. The people are wonderful to work with and so helpful. They also take you in and you feel so much a part of that refuge. You learn soooo much….it is an awesome learning experience. Because it is a habitat it is all about the animals. This is not a camping experience but an animal experience. The downside at this particular NWR was it did not provide the greatest sites for their volunteers. We were sitting on the side of the road with another volunteer. It was a back in site and the front of our motorhome was literally on the road so Mike had to work the motorhome at an angle so we had some room in front of us. They had redone the roads just before we arrived and it was this nice fine white powdery crush and run type stuff. Anytime a car went by dust would just fly. For me, definitely a negative. I was ready to leave early on but after a week and falling in love with the habitat and the people there I was hooked. The upside…….this refuge is undergoing a total renovation and it will have a new Information Center, office area and yes, yes, a volunteer village that is off the road and in a place behind the office and facing the big Lake Texoma. It should be great when finished.

Our current camp host position is awesome. It gives us the opportunity to camp in a really natural setting…the “it” factor, with full hook-ups and during week days this place is pretty much ours. What a wonderful backyard complete with a lake!! We see a big difference in the amount of funding. Our equipment is rather old but still working…somewhat. Mike usually borrows from the maintenance department whenever he wants to do his weed projects. Our blower (which we used here 3 years ago) is held together with duck tape. It blows but not so well. Because of a reduction in staff we don’t see the Park Rangers very often. We have their numbers in our cell phones and can call if we need anything. They do drive through a few times a day and that’s it. The downside is we “live” here. So you are kinda on duty whenever you are home. We have a light that is turned on facing the “Campground Host” sign and we turn it off at 10:00p.m. With that said….there are very few folks camping during the weekdays and on weekends the campers are pretty nice and get all their questions/shopping done way before 10:00. That’s not to say we have never had a late question or camper trying to find a spot. We basically work Thursday evenings, Friday and Saturday. We have a list of host duties and when we complete that we are free. The requirements here are pretty simple. Nellie ( made a comment about cleaning bathrooms. Nellie we don’t clean bathrooms. I agree with you, I am not going to do that either. We do check the bathrooms for paper products. If any are needed we have a key to the storage room and can replenish. We DO NOT clean the bathrooms the maintenance department is responsible for that.

So there you have the answers to a few questions that have been asked recently. I would highly recommend either of these workamping positions to our RVing friends. They are both great in different ways. No regrets.

I haven’t mentioned by name all of our new “friends” that have decided to follow our blog but I am always humbled by those that have decided to follow our journey. Thank you. I would also like to point out that if you click on the picture it will take you to that person’s information and perhaps their blog/journal if they write one. We welcome your comments, questions or e-mails.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lazy, Hazy Days

This morning Gerri & I got up around 7:30, made some hot tea since neither of us drink coffee, read some blogs on the computer and just eased into the day. This is such a nice time of day in the campground. I fixed Gerri some oatmeal and me some pancakes with warm maple syrup and they were really good and hit the spot.

I decided to clear a little more around the lower end of the lake to open up the area for a breeze and a better view of the lake for the campers.

DSC03416  DSC03413We have cleared about 100 feet of the lake bank so far and have about 40 more feet to clear and that project will be complete as well as look so much better.

Gerri grilled us some Cheddarwurst dogs and baked potatoes for lunch and they were really good. We just chilled for a couple hours after lunch watching as campers started coming in for the long weekend.

Later we decided to go the Country Store at Callaway Gardens and get a couple of diet cokes.

 DSC03402 DSC03399 That store sets on top of the hill overlooking Callaway property and also with a view of the Steeplechase area of the gardens. DSC03412 DSC03411 We sat and visited for about an hour and enjoyed some time away from the campground.

We got back to the campground and had some more campers in for the weekend, a seemingly great group of people and very friendly. One camper made three laps, oops make that 6 laps before finally deciding on a spot……decisions decisions. Just about the time we finished our rounds, the rains came and it sounded so good in the motor home, it made us want to take a nap.  Thirty minutes later, the rains stopped and the sun was shining.

We finished off the day by watching television and just enjoying the evening together. We hope you had a great day also.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So How Did We Get Here ?

So how did we get here?? Several folks have asked us this question and it is a good one. There is no one set way of obtaining a workamping position, but I will tell you how we came about this one.

I believe all states have a park website. Georgia has and when you go there you will see a link on the left side that says “volunteer” and when you click on this link you will see “hosting opportunities.” When you click on this link it takes you to a page where you can choose what type of hosting opportunities you are interested in. We were interested in “campground” and so at this point you will be able to select a time for hosting and the park you might be interested in. When you choose your park it will give you an idea of what is available and when. If you find a park you might be interested in you click on “apply” begin the application process.

Initially we knew the District Park Ranger for this area and so on our first volunteer camp host position at FDR we contacted him personally. I had taught his son a few years prior and we knew the family well. The only reason we went through him at this point is because we both were still working and would only be able to work evenings and weekends. This was approved by Ronnie. We still had to go through the application process. Once you apply on line for the camp host position I would highly recommend contacting the Park Ranger in charge and at least have a phone conversation letting him/her know of your interest and that you have applied and your application is on file. If you are in the area you could also stop by and introduce yourself to the person in charge.

I can’t speak for every state but in Georgia we receive no monetary pay but are given a full hookup site for our time volunteering. We also have free use of the laundry but the machines are very very old, so I still choose to use my own washer/dryer. In the past we have been given a free 5 day pass to camp in any state park in Georgia. With the budget cuts we are not sure that is still in effect. Only time will tell. You are supposed to receive a free shirt and hat but we haven’t seen that this time.

Why do we volunteer for no pay? Well actually we do benefit financially by doing this volunteer position. We budget $650.00 per month for campground fees so in essence we are receiving this amount each month we are here. We also budget for diesel fuel and since the motorhome isn’t moving we can roll that money into our budget also. So now we have areas in our budget that have received additional money while we volunteer. By doing this we are able to give back to an area that, in these economic times, need as much volunteer help as they can get. Many of our nation’s state campgrounds are having to close due to current economic troubles and it is just one way we can give back. It puts us in a beautiful area where we can hike, fish, put our Sea Eagle in some water, do a little photography and stay physically active and in contact with great people. It is truly a win-win situation.

We also joined Workamper. You can go to their website and surf around to discover all they offer. We have placed our resume on this site and have had many calls regarding workamper jobs. There is a fee to join this group but it is an excellent resource if you are interested in workamping.

We have also volunteered at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. This was a great volunteer position and the people with the NWR are just super to work with. Their budget is a little better and therefore you have more to work with.

I will include a few other web sites that can be used in looking for a volunteer and /or a pay position. If I leave something out please feel free to send a comment and let us know.
I am sure there are many others. Hope this helps…..

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some Like it Hot

Yep, some like it hot… and steamy that is. This was our afternoon free to do whatever we pleased and since it was soooo hot outside we decided to go where it was also hot inside.DSC_3020 DSC_3014

Mike worked a little this morning on his weed project down by the lake and I spent the morning cleaning the motorhome and doing a load of laundry. We ate some great Taco Soup for lunch and then headed to our favorite place…Callaway Gardens/Resort and visited the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. DSC03362 DSC03365DSC03360 DSC_3011 DSC_3016 DSC_3023 This center is North America’s largest glass- enclosed tropical conservatory. It is named in honor of Cecil B. Day who was a Christian philanthropist and founder of the Days Inn. The center was opened in 1988 and not only houses thousands of butterflies but also tropical plants, insects and birds. You can begin your visit with the short video entitled Wings of Wonder. Everything here is environmentally friendly and yep you guessed it HOT!!

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